Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘David Feldman’

Bell fundraising lawsuit to be heard in January

A busy legal calendar just got a little fuller. A judge in January will hear likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell’s request to block Sylvester Turner’s plan to transfer money from his officeholder account to his mayoral account when the fundraising period opens on Feb. 1. Judge Elizabeth Ray of Harris County’s 165th Civil Court will […]

Lawsuit filed over Houston campaign blackout rules

From the inbox: Late Tuesday afternoon, Houston City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a First Amendment lawsuit challenging a discriminatory Houston ordinance that prevents city candidates from fundraising until February. Gordon is a conservative candidate for Houston City Council at large. “Houston is a great city because of the entrepreneurial culture of its citizens, among […]

Red light cameras: The final insult

Awesome. In settling the lawsuit with camera vendor American Traffic Solutions, whose contract was supposed to run through 2014, the city agreed to pay the Arizona-based company $4.8 million. The city had $2.3 million in red-light ticket revenue on hand at the time of the settlement, and officials said they expected to be able to […]

Re-revisiting red light cameras

This horse is dead. Please stop beating it. Four years after Houston voters rejected red-light cameras, the divisive issue unexpectedly resurfaced Tuesday when police officials presented figures indicating that removing the cameras made 51 busy intersections more dangerous. Auto crashes have more than doubled at those intersections since voters banned use of the cameras in […]

Lies are worse than missteps

But you know what we’re going to hear more about. Conservative outrage over the Parker administration’s admittedly bungled subpoena of five pastors’ sermons last week marked just the latest episode in a messy political saga surrounding the city’s equal rights ordinance, with both critics and supporters making significant blunders. For example, a recently leaked deposition […]

Mayoral fundraising 2015

Yeah, I know, another post about the 2015 election. I sure am doing a lousy job of not thinking about that just yet, but this raises an interesting point. Likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell is asking the city of Houston to reconsider its interpretation of an ordinance that would give Sylvester Turner a major fundraising […]

City files amended petitions

From the inbox: As follow up to a promise made earlier in the week, the City of Houston has revised its subpoenas in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) repeal petition case. The disputed request has been narrowed to focus solely on communications related to HERO and the petition gathering process. There is no mention […]

The outrage machine is fully engaged

We’ll see how long they can keep it up. A legal battle between the city of Houston and religious leaders has erupted into a national debate this week about religious liberty and freedom of speech, even as Mayor Annise Parker argued the controversy was based on a misunderstanding. Conservative lawmakers and activists expressed outrage upon […]

Subpoenaing sermons

Not sure about this. Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists who have sued the city. Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are […]

Smoking ban extended to pedestrian plazas

I’m okay with this. Main Street Square is now a smoke-free zone following the City Council’s decision Wednesday to expand Houston’s smoking ban to pedestrian plazas, marking the latest effort from the Parker administration to curb lighting up in public places. The changes to the smoking ordinance are twofold: it expands the ban to Houston’s […]

HERO repealers try their luck with the Supreme Court

Because sure, why not? Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance have asked the Texas Supreme Court to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on a petition they submitted seeking to trigger a repeal referendum on the law. Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals denied a similar request on Aug. 15, ruling that the emergency […]

HERO repeal petition lawsuit set for January

There will be no HERO repeal referendum on the ballot this year, but depending on how the trial (and likely appeal) goes, there could be one next year. Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance dropped their request for a temporary injunction Friday that could have triggered a process to set a repeal referendum this November. […]

The case against tossing the HERO repeal petitions

Jerad Najvar makes a constitutional argument that the city of Houston should have accepted the HERO repeal petitions even though many of the petition pages fell short of the requirements laid out in the city charter. While we lack clarity as to exact numbers, it appears that given a blatant constitutional infirmity with part of […]

HERO repeal hopefuls try another venue

Whatever. Conservative opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance have asked an appeals court to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on their petitions to force a repeal referendum on the November ballot. Equal rights ordinance critics filed a request late Monday with Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals for an emergency writ of mandamus […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moves back to state court

Are we dizzy yet? Conservative activists seeking to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance trumpeted a small victory Thursday when a court hearing resulted in the ordinance being suspended pending an Aug. 15 hearing. Mayor Annise Parker, anticipating a lawsuit, had already said she would not enforce the ordinance until there was more legal clarity, […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moved to federal court

And the bad guys are very unhappy about it. Conservative activists seeking to repeal Houston’s equal rights ordinance accused the city of stalling the issue Wednesday after city lawyers moved the opponents’ lawsuit over rejected ballot petitions from state to federal court. Opponents blasted the move, calling it a delay tactic aimed at keeping the […]

Decision on validity of HERO-repeal petitions coming today

Get ready for the fireworks. City of Houston officials plan to announce Monday whether a petition submitted by opponents of the city’s new nondiscrimination ordinance contains enough valid signatures to force a vote on repealing the measure this November. Opponents claimed to have gathered and verified 31,000 names, but City Attorney David Feldman said Friday […]

HERO repeal petitions announcement today

Today’s the day we find out what happens. The city’s controversial HERO ordinance prohibits discrimination based on federally recognized groups such as race and age, but also extends those rights to sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents of the ordinance led a petition drive to bring the issue to a public vote. It now appears […]

Council votes to sue over bad pension projections

Game on. Houston City Council on Wednesday paved the way for city attorneys to sue an actuarial firm the city claims gave inaccurate pension estimates that spurred costly changes to firefighters’ retirement benefits in 2001. […] Houston’s contribution rate to the fire pension skyrocketed soon after the changes were approved, despite an actuarial report from […]

Another pension-related lawsuit coming?

Here’s a little blast from the past. The city of Houston may sue a company whose advice it relied upon in making changes to firefighters’ retirement benefits in 2001, saying the firm’s inaccurate predictions left the city on the hook for pensions it cannot afford. Houston’s contribution rate to the firefighters pension skyrocketed soon after […]

Houston’s payday lending ordinance is now in place

Part of me hopes that there’s a lot of complaints, and part of me hopes there’s very few. Houston’s stringent new rules on payday and auto title lenders took effect Tuesday, reviving industry complaints that it would drive companies out of business, or at least out of the city, but giving borrowers a clearer path […]

Competition is good, except when it isn’t

I honestly don’t get this. As the Houston City Council prepares to vote Wednesday on whether to make its longtime back-tax collector share the lucrative work with a rival, city officials are getting ample pushback from the man responsible for collecting the taxes. Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan is not the only one opposed […]

Post HERO, watch for the petition drives

Here’s the full Chron story about the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. I’m going to skip ahead in the story and focus on what the haters are saying and planning to do. Opponent Dave Welch, of the Houston Area Pastors Council, said his group will begin gathering signatures against the ordinance to trigger […]

NDO vote will be next week

The proposed non-discrimination ordinance was on Council’s agenda yesterday, but it did not come to a vote as it was tagged, which means it’ll be voted on next week. The Chron’s preview story gave some insight into what we should expect from the ordinance based on the experience of other cities that already have protections […]

Council hears NDO testimony

It went about as you’d expect. Houston is the last of America’s largest cities not to have local anti-discrimination protections, a fact some lauded and others condemned Wednesday during the first opportunity for public comment on Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed equal rights ordinance. Parker is poised to place the ordinance before City Council for a […]

City asks court to let Ashby Highrise be built

Interesting. The city on Friday asked a judge to let the Ashby high-rise project go forward after seven years of wrangling and a recent jury verdict in favor of nearby residents who oppose the 21-story tower planned for 1717 Bissonnet. City Attorney David Feldman said halting construction of a project that satisfied the regulations in […]

Firefighters union ratifies no-brownout agreement

Good. Members of the Houston firefighters’ union have signed off on a deal with Mayor Annise Parker that would prevent pulling firetrucks from service to help balance the Fire Department’s budget. “We’re very pleased that the union membership ratified the agreement,” Houston City Attorney David M. Feldman said in a statement released Friday. Now that […]

City to Uber: Enough with the emails already

So this happened. The battle over Houston’s taxi rules moved Thursday from the streets to cyberspace, reflecting ongoing tension between an aggressive newcomer and a city government determined to proceed cautiously. Thousands of email messages urging elected leaders to allow the ridesharing service Uber into Houston slowed city servers and led City Attorney David Feldman […]

Firefighters union sues city to block cutbacks

Not sure about this. Houston firefighters went to court Tuesday in an effort to block the city from removing personnel, trucks and ambulances from service. But a judge rejected their argument that the “rolling brownouts” plan violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city. State District Judge Elaine Palmer turned down the request for […]

Audit letters

There’s a thing called audit letters that I hadn’t known existed. We’ve got them for Houston, but we had not been making them public even though other cities do as a matter of course. Houston officials have blocked the release of letters detailing weaknesses in the city’s financial accounting even though other large Texas cities […]

City sues HFRRF again

From the inbox: In the face of growing concern about its ability to meet long-term retiree pension obligations, the City of Houston filed a lawsuit today against the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF), one of three pension systems covering City employees. The lawsuit seeks to enable the City to have the same input […]

Why not three?

Greg suggests a couple of tweaks to term limits. » Fix the JoJo exclusion. The statute, as written, is amazingly short and simple: Section 6a. – Limitation of terms. No person, who has already served two full terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office. The statute is also amazingly unequal in how […]

City moves anti-same sex spouse benefits lawsuit to federal court

Interesting. Mayor Annise Parker and the city of Houston have moved a lawsuit challenging same-sex benefits out of Republican Judge Lisa Millard’s court after she allegedly halted the benefits without giving the city proper notice. City Attorney David Feldman filed a “Notice of Removal” on Friday saying the lawsuit belongs in U.S. district court instead […]

More on the local GOP’s lawsuit against same sex spouse insurance benefits

Family Court? What’s up with that? City Attorney Dave Feldman said Wednesday that the city of Houston and Mayor Annise Parker were not given notice before a family district court judge halted a recent policy change extending health and life insurance benefits to city employees in same-sex marriages. “I’m not even sure how this ended […]